Midlands ENGLAND: THE MIDLANDS

The Midlands of England lies in the most central region of England, between the south, north, East Anglia, and Wales. It is often divided into the West Midlands and the East Midlands, both being considered as administrative regions of England although they do not cover a traditional region of the Midlands.

The counties that make up the Midlands include Derbyshire, Herefordshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Ruland, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, and Worcestershire. The 2001 census also included the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, although these are more often considered to be within the East Anglia region. Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire are also occasionally considered as part of the Midlands, despite being situated in the far south.    

The South Midlands is an area that is identified by the government for development, especially Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire and northern Buckinghamshire. However, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire are not considered to be part of the Midlands, which further accentuates the flexibility of the Midlands’ boundaries.

The 2001 census for the West Midlands recorded 5,267,337 residents, and the census for the East Midlands the same year recorded 4,172,179 residents. The most populous cities in the West Midlands are Birmingham and Wolverhampton, and in the East Midlands the largest cities are Leicester, Nottingham and Derby.


WEST MIDLANDS  

The principal area of the West Midlands consist of the counties Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, and Worcestershire, as well as the West Midlands metropolitan county that includes the cities of Birmingham, Wolverhampton and part of Coventry.  

Birmingham is generally considered to be the second largest city in the UK, and also for being a vital powerhouse of a city during the Industrial Revolution in Britain. It was during this time that Birmingham received its nicknames “Workshop of the World” and “City of a Thousand Trades.” The city population of Birmingham is 1,001,200 as of 2005, and is surrounded by the cities Solihull, Wolverhampton, and towns of the Black Country.

Residents of Birmingham are known as “Brummie,” which was a term derived from another city nickname, Brum. Derived from “Bromwicham,” the earlier name of the city, natives have very distinct Brummie dialects and accents.

Despite the fact that Birmingham grew to prominence as a largely industrial manufacturing and engineering centre, today the economy is dominated by the service sector which (as of 2003) accounted for nearly 97% of the city’s economic growth. Historically, the largest manufacturers in the city have been associated with steam, electric, and petrol transport and power industries.

With over 500 law firms and a number of insurance companies, Birmingham now attracts over 42% of the UK’s total conference trade. Two of the UK’s “Big Four Banks” were founded in the city – Lloyds Bank (currently Lloyds TSB) was founded in 1765 and the Midland Bank (currently HSBC Bank plc) was founded in 1836.

The city of Birmingham is an ethnically and culturally diverse city, with the smallest white population by percentage of many major UK cities. The 2001 census recorded the population statistics as: 70.4% White (with 3.2% Irish and 1.5% Other White), 19.5% Asian, 6.1% Black or Black British, 0.5% Chinese, and 3.5% mixed race or other ethnic heritage. A notable aspect of Birmingham’s population is the fact that it is home to the highest percentage of Muslim residents in the West Midlands (one-third of all UK-based Muslims) and three-quarters of the populace living in the Moseley and Camp Hill districts being followers of Islam. Additionally, Birmingham is home to nearly 200,000 Asian residents and 60,000 black residents; no other region is home to more black residents and only London and the Yorkshire and Humber region has more Asian residents. Apart from Birmingham, other large Asian communities are based in the nearby cities of Wolverhampton (Asians make up 14% of the city population) and Coventry (Asians make up 11% of the city population).

While London is commonly seen as the most diverse British city, 29% of its residents are non-white, with Birmingham’s non-white population set at 29.6%. Certain areas of the city, such as the Chinese Quarter – well-known for its Chinese restaraunts and yearly Chinese New Year parade – and the Irish Quarter – the site of several Ireland-themed pubs and Victorian warehouses – also contribute to the prominent ethnicities of Birmingham. 

Birmingham is also the site for a variety of national ethnic media outlets, including The Voice magazine, The Sikh Times, Desi Xpress, The Asian Today and the Raj TV network.

The Midland Metro tram system and the Travel West Midlands bus services provide adequate transportation throughout the city. Travel West Midlands continuously introduces more modern buses to replace older ones, which cuts back on pollution and also ensures better safety standards.


WEST MIDLANDS: ETHNIC PROFILE

Out of every 1,000 people (on average):

  • 861 are White British
  • 73 are Asian
  • 26 are White non-British
  • 20 are Black 
  • 14 are of Mixed Race 
  •  3 are Chinese

Source: Office for National Statistics

Besides London, the West Midlands are considered to be the most ethnically diverse area in the UK, according to statistics from the 2001 census data. About 13.9% of the population is from ethnic groups other than white British, and about 6.5% of the people living in the region were born in a foreign country. Notably, there are more residents who are of Pakistani origin (155,000) who live in the West Midlands than in any other UK region (including London). The population is equally divided between Indians and Pakistanis, however on a level of city and town status, each ethnic group tends to prevail over the other in some instances. In Birmingham, the ratio of Pakistanis to Indians is 2:1, although in Wolverhampton the amount of Indians to Pakistanis is about ten times higher in concentration.

The West Midlands remains only second to London in regard to the population of its black community in terms of numerically (with 104,000 residents) and in proportion to all other residents (at 2%). This is nearly twice of what the black population in the South East of England was recorded. About 15% of UK-based black Caribbeans live in the West Midlands, although the black populations of Birmingham (4.6% of its residents) and Wolverhampton (6.1% of its residents) continues to be considerably above the national average of England.

The black Caribbean group outnumbers residents of African descent by over a 7:1 ratio (as compared to London, where the African population now dominates over the number of Caribbean residents). Most of the ethnic minority groups in the West Midlands are, by contrast, similar to other ethnic proportions throughout UK regions. However, the region does boast a high percentage of people from mixed white and black Caribbean backgrounds than the UK’s national average at about 40,000 people (0.8% of all residents). These figures are larger within Birmingham and Wolverhampton (at 1.5% and 2% respectively), and only a couple of inner London regions have marginally higher proportions of these groups.   


POPULATION BY ETHNIC GROUPS
Total West Midlands Population: 5,267,308

 Local area UK National Average   
 Ethnic group sub-group PopulationProportion compared to national average 
 White   4,674,296 88.7%
90.9%
  British  4,537,892 86.1%
86.9%
  Irish  73,136 1.38%
1.27%
  Other  63,268 1.20%
2.66%
 Mixed   73,225 1.39%
1.30%
  White and Black Caribbean  39,782  0.75%
0.47%
  White and Black African  3,683 0.06%
0.15%
  White and Asian  18,160 0.34%
0.37%
  Other mixed  11,600 0.22%
0.30%
 Asian  385,573 7.32%
4.57%
  Indian 178,691 3.39%
2.09%
  Pakistani 154,550 2.93%
1.43%
  Bangladeshi 31,401 0.59%
0.56%
  Other Asian 20,931

 0.39%
0.48%

 Black  104,032 1.97%
2.30%
  Caribbean 82,282 1.56%
1.14%
  African 11,985 0.22%
0.96%
  Other Black 9,765 0.18%
0.19%
 Chinese  16,099 0.30%
0.44%
    
 Otherethnic  group  14,083 0.26%
0.43%

Source: Census 2001, Office for National Statistics


 EAST MIDLANDS  

The East Midlands consists of the eastern half of what is traditionally known as the Midlands region in England. The area is made up of the counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and much of Lincolnshire. The main settlements of the region are Nottingham, Leicester, Lincoln, Derby, Northampton, Mansfield and Chesterfield, with Leicester officially being the largest city in the region.

The north of Derbyshire is more frequently associated with Northern England, with the regional accent of natives being closer to that of a Sheffield dialect than the accent that is prevalently heard in the southern parts of the East Midlands.

Nottingham East Midlands Airport in Leicestershire is located between the triad of Leicester, Derby and Nottingham. The region is served by Midland Mainline and GNER high-speed trains to London, as well as by the Cross Country Route (MR) to Birmingham and the South West of England. The M1 motorway also services the urban areas.

The largest city in the East Midlands is Leicester, with natives of the city being dubbed “Leicesterians.” Apart from being the most populated city in the region, Leicester is also famous for having one of the more ethnically diverse populations throughout the UK, with its statistics in the 2001 census recorded as: 63.9% White, 29.9% South Asian, 3.1% Afro-Caribbean, 2.3% Mixed Race, and 0.8% Chinese. The smallest group of Asians is those of Bangladeshi descent, which makes up less than 0.2% of the city population.

Leicester is widely expected to become the first city in Europe with a mainly non-white population some time during the next decade, and other cities such as Nottingham and Derby also have a high population of ethnic minorities. These three major cities of the East Midlands are quite diverse in terms of how minority populations are not evenly distributed throughout the region. Leicester has a large population of Indians (60% of the Asian population, or 72,000 residents), Nottingham has one of the biggest populations of black residents (mostly of Caribbean origin from Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat and Jamaica) outside of London, and Derby is significant for housing a large proportion of Indian Sikhs.

Leicester is situated next to the M1 Motorway, and also is served through means of transport by Midland Main Line (from London to Sheffield, Nottingham and Leeds) and also provides services through rail lines to Birmingham and Peterborough. Approximately 99 miles from London, the stature of Leicester will most likely grow due to the fact that London St Pancras station (where the Midland Mainline trains terminate) will become home to the Eurostar international services that is expected to be launched on 14 November 2007.

The city centre is built in a Victorian-style architecture that has come to include modern buildings in recent years that have generally integrated easily into the city structure. The Clock Tower at the heart of the city intersects with five routes: High Street, Churchgate, Belgrave Gate, Humberstone Gate and Gallowtree Gate.

The city also houses two universities, the University of Leicester and De Montfort University (formerly Leicester Polytechnic). Partially because the University of Leicester is one of the few UK universities to specialise in the study of space sciences, the National Space Centre is also situated in the city. Furthermore, Leicester is also a renowned centre for Islamic studies in the UK and home to several Islamic institutions of Islamic theology. This includes teachings of Jame’ah Uloomul Qur’an (through the Islamic Da’wah Academy), taught by celebrated scholar Shaykh ul Hadith Maulana Adam Lunat, as well as Jame’ah Riyaadul Uloom under spiritual guidance of Shaykh ul Hadith Maulana Muhammad Saleem Dhorat.

The Leicester Market is the biggest covered market in Europe, nearby the Leicester City Centre that also houses the Haymarket and the Shires shopping centres. The historical “core of the City” lies to the west, where monuments such as St Martin Anglican cathedral, medieval churches of St Mary de Castro and St Nicholas, and the Jewry Wall are situated.    Besides many impressive and ancient tourist attractions, Leicester also hosts the city’s annual Leicester Pride Parade, as well as the Caribbean Carnival (which is the second largest Caribbean pride festival in the UK, outside of the Notting Hill carnival in London), the Summer Sundae Music Festival, and the largest comedy festival in the UK and the largest Diwali celebrations outside of India.

Following World War II, Leicester saw a large immigration arrival from the Indian sub-continent, Kenya and Uganda. Today, these racial groups make up about 40% of the city’s population, which gives Leicester its reputation as one of the most ethnically diverse cities in both the UK and Europe. Recent immigration arrivals include Dutch citizens of Somali origin, who are largely drawn by the number of mosques and the relaxed atmosphere of the city. Today, the city includes a vast array of houses of worship such as Hindu mandirs, Sikh gurdwaras, Muslim mosques and a Jain temple.

The city of Nottingham has an estimated city population of 278,700 (as of 2005). The percentages of racial groups living in the city are as follows: 84.9% white, 6.5% South Asian, and 4.3% Afro-Caribbean.

The city centre of Nottingham is located at the heart of the Old Market Square, where most of the main shopping streets surround the square. The Council House – characterised by an excessively tall dome that is at the top of the square – accommodates the Exchange Arcade, a major shopping centre. The bohemian quarter of the city is known as Hockley, adjacent to the historic Lace Market of the city. The vibrant, modern section, often described as “The Soho of Nottingham”, houses many bars, restaurants and trendy clothing shops. Nottingham also receives a great deal of tourism due to the infamous Robin Hood legend of Sherwood Forest and Nottingham Castle.  

The East Midlands section of BBC Television is also based in Nottingham, producing several regional TV programmes such as BBC East Midlands Today. The local newspaper of the city is the Nottingham Evening Post.

Nottingham has a quarter of a million residents, and also is home to the largest black Caribbean population in the East Midlands region with 9,000 inhabitants. This group makes up over 80% of the black populace in the city, and 3.4% of all residents within the city. However, Nottingham’s Asian population remains considerably higher, with 17,500 Asian residents living within the city. Of this number, nearly 10,000 are of Pakistani origin (which is the opposite in Leicester, where most Asian residents are of Indian origin). Another notable aspect of Nottingham’s ethnic diversity populace is that it has a large number of mixed race residents, which includes nearly 8,500 people (or 3% of the city population). Of this number, 5,300 of those people are of white and black Caribbean origins. In addition, only eight out of ten Nottingham residents are of white British origin.    


 EAST MIDLANDS: ETHNIC PROFILE

Out of every 1,000 people (on average):

  • 912 are White British
  • 40 are Asian
  • 22 are White non-British
  • 10 are of Mixed Race
  • 9 are Black 
  • 3 are Chinese

Source: Office for National Statistics

About 4.1 million people reside in the East Midlands; the region has one of the smaller populations in the UK. At the time of the 2001 census, about 9% of residents living in the East midlands came from ethnic minority backgrounds; of the eight remaining regions of England, only London and the West Midlands housed a higher proportion of non-white British residents. That same year, it was recorded that 5.4% of people living in the East Midlands were born in a foreign country (which had gone up from 4.5% in the 1991 census).


POPULATION BY ETHNIC GROUPS
Total East Midlands Population: 4,172,174

 Local area UK National Average   
 Ethnic group sub-group PopulationProportion compared to national average 
 White   3,900,380 93.4%
90.9%
  British  3,807,731 91.2%
86.9%
  Irish  35,478 0.85%
1.27%
  Other  57,171 1.37%
2.66%
 Mixed   43,141 1.03%
1.30%
  White and Black Caribbean  20,658 0.49%
0.47%
  White and Black African  3,426 0.08%
0.15%
  White and Asian  11,176 0.26%
0.37%
  Other mixed  7,881 0.18%
0.30%
 Asian  168,913 4.04%
4.57%
  Indian 122,346 2.93%
2.09%
  Pakistani 27,829 0.66%
1.43%
  Bangladeshi 6,923 0.16%
0.56%
  Other Asian 11,815

 0.28%

0.48%

 Black 39,477 0.94%
2.30%
  Caribbean 26,684 0.63%
1.14%
  African 9,165 0.21%
0.96%
  Other Black 3,628 0.08%
0.19%
 Chinese  12,910 0.30%
0.44%
    
 Other ethnic group  7,353 0.17%
0.43%

Source: Census 2001, Office for National Statistics


 

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